An ethics executive of a public body sought the Commissioner’s advice while considering hiring a municipal councillor as a public servant in an administrative role.
Although being a municipal councillor is considered political activity, it is possible for a municipal councillor to be hired as a public servant if he/she can avoid engaging in the specific types of political activities that are prohibited by section 77 or restricted by section 79.
If hired as a public servant, the municipal councillor would also have to ensure that any activities he/she engaged in as a municipal councillor were in compliance with the conflict of interest rules.
As the municipality was within the geographical area affected by the actions of the public body, the Commissioner concluded that there was potential for conflicts between the individual’s roles as a municipal councillor and public servant. The Commissioner suggested that, if the individual were to be hired, the ethics executive should implement strategies to mitigate the potential for conflicts. For example, the ethics executive could restrict the individual’s access to matters related to the municipality he/she represents and require the individual to refrain from participating in discussions or decision-making at the municipality on any issues relating to the public body.
PSOA, s. 72, 77 & 79; O. Reg. 381/07, s. 8.